Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, with the serious of festivals being celebrated in India, Janmashtami is one amongst all those vivid festivals celebrated on a grander scale. Janmashtami celebrates the birth (janma) of Lord Krishna on the eighth (ashtami) day (dark fortnight) of the month of August-September (Bhadrapada). The number eight is of much significance, Krishna was the eighth child of his mother Devaki. Devotes of Krishna celebrate Janmashtami all around the world, but the charm of the festival can only be experienced in India.
Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and the festival is mainly celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan, where Krishna is ought to spend his childhood and early youth. On the previous day of the festival, devotees follow ritualistic fast until midnight, the traditional hour of his birth. At midnight, the idol of Lord Krishna is bathed in milk and water and then dressed in new clothes and worshipped and is offered sweets which later is distributed as Prasada amongst his devotees. In Mathura, the devotees also prepare an elaborate representation of his life since from his birth using small images and idols. Also, pots of milk are hung in the street and a pyramid reaching the pot is formed by men to break the pot. This event is a representation of Lord Krishna’s childhood when he and his cowherd friends use to steal curds hung out of reach by his mother.
Let’s have a look at how Janmashtami is celebrated across India:-
Mathura: A city in Uttar Pradesh and the birthplace of Lord Krishna, here Janmashtami is a grand affair. The entire city is decked up splendidly and the enthusiasm of the festival can be sensed in every corner. A swing is created with flower ropes attached to it and on the actual place of his birth, a temple called the Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir is constructed.
Vrindavan: Another major pilgrimage place in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India where Lord Krishna has believed to spent his childhood. The place holds mythological importance because of Krishna and thus Janmashtami is celebrated passionately here. Shri Krishna Balram Temple, Rangnathji Temple, Radharaman Temple, Banke Bihari Temple, ISKCON temple are some of the major temples.
Dwarka: Dwarka in Indian states of Gujarat is the place which was the kingdom of Lord Krishna. The Dwarkadish Temple is entirely lightened up and decorated. The infant of Krishna is worshipped here followed with bhajans, kirtans, and sermons. Lord is adorned with different pieces of jewellery. In Gujarat, there is a tradition that women of the house give up their household works for the day and follow a custom of playing cards.
Maharashtra: Janmashtami is celebrated all across India and in Maharashtra, this is one of the important festivals and is celebrated differently. Here it is known as Gokulashtami also called Dahi Handi, a group of young people forms a pyramid and breaks the pot hung at the top by a string. While the entire process from building the pyramid to the breaking of the pitcher of Dahi, they keep chanting ‘Govinda, Govinda’. This event demonstrates the activities of young Krishna.
Manipur: Well, most of us might not know that Janmashtami is one of the prominent festivals to be celebrated in Manipur. Here more than half of the population belongs to the Meitis community, and are Vaishnavites. The Hindus in Imphal are devoted followers of Lord Krishna and celebrates the festival with great zeal.
South India: States in South India such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh celebrate Janmashtami on a larger scale. In Tamil Nadu, devotees prepare special sweet dishes whereas in Karnataka the Krishna Janma Mahotsav Samiti organises special celebration. Devotees prepare Murukku and Seddai and offer to Shri Krishna or Gokulnandan, special dishes prepared from milk are also part of the offerings.
Get to know more about Indian festivals such as Hemis festival, JaganNath Rath Yatra, Holi etc…. on our festival blog.
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